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    A Myanmar border guard stands next to fencing in a field on the outskirts of Maungdaw in Rakhine state on January 24, 2018

    Amnesty Int'l Warns Myanmar Conducting 'Military Land Grab' in Rakhine State

    © AFP 2019 / CAPE DIAMOND
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Myanmar military intensified the construction of its bases in Rakhine State after hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim minority, fled to neighboring Bangladesh to avoid violence, a prominent international watchdog said Monday.

    "What we are seeing in Rakhine State is a land grab by the military on a dramatic scale. New bases are being erected to house the very same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingya," Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response director, said, as quoted in the press release.

    The organization added that military construction in the area of leveled Rohingya villages escalated in January, according to eyewitnesses and analysis of satellite photos, as shown in Amnesty’s "Remaking Rakhine State" report.

    READ MORE: Chasing Rohingya Refugees, Myanmar Deploys Troops to Border with Bangladesh

    "This makes the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees an even more distant prospect. Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar," Hassan added.

    Myanmar has seen internal ethnic conflicts since gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. In 2015, the government and eight ethnic armed groups signed a nationwide ceasefire, which was joined by two more armed groups on February 13, 2018.

    The most recent escalation happened in late August, after Rohingya insurgents attacked government security posts in Rakhine state. The attacks prompted a response by Myanmar’s authorities, resulting in clashes and the death of hundreds of Rohingyas. The violence also forced thousands of others to cross into Bangladesh.

    Related:

    Multiple Bomb Explosions Injure 2 People in Myanmar's Rakhine State - Reports
    Satellite Photos Show Rohingya Villages Bulldozed in Myanmar – Rights Group
    Russia to Deliver 6 Additional Yak-130 Aircraft to Myanmar
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    Rohingya refugees, escalation, security, Myanmar
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